Who is in Control?


It’s that time again! I walked in the evening one day this week and the faint smell of burning leaves floated up from along the bank of the lake. A flock of honking geese rose up from the water and flew into the southern sky. As I started up Laurel Lane, the hazy dust of the harvest spread itself through the late afternoon air and one red tree stood etched against the sunset.

The dusty harvest air always smells reminiscent of home to me. Memories of other harvests drifted through my mind, and I reminded myself of the unchanging pattern of the harvest and the realization of the year’s work. Ageless and constant, harvest season is always there as is the time for planting, and the time for rest. We who live in this part of the world understand what the writer of Ecclesiastes meant when he wrote “There is an appointed time for everything.”(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

And in these stressful times, not only of the harvest season, but of the season in our country and in our economy perhaps we need to go again to God’s Word. We need to remind ourselves that some things do remain steadfast and sure in this ever-changing world. God’s Word and His promises are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.

I walked on around my route in this mindset and continued to be aware of the unchanging force of God in the world around me. I walked by leaf covered yards filled with children’s playthings and thought of the birth of children and the death of loved ones and the change this brings to our lives. The toys belong to my great-nephews and I think of the generations before us and the promises of their generation. What will their world be? 

But I am convinced that the geese will fly, the planting will happen, the harvest will occur, the sun will come up and God will be in control. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven-“(Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Our stress and our concerns with the every day life are certainly important and need our attention; however, as I walk on towards home, I pray for wisdom and the age old prayer of serenity.” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” Reinhold Niebuh



I have been going back over a conversation that I was a part of recently.  And yes, I was a part of it, not an innocent bystander, but a part of the group. And in retrospect,I have decided to be more careful about my participation in such conversations.  Was it harmful?  I don't think so, but was it necessary?  Probably not.

How do you feel about gossip?  Harmless?  Destructive? Not a problem? The subject is on my heart this morning. Society gives it many labels-chit-chat, rumor, conversation, prayer-wait Prayer?  Really? How could prayer be destructive?

As His people, we need to examine our hearts as we make prayer requests. God knows the details of the situation. Vivid description of the problem as the request is made is not usually necessary. An explicit detail made public does little for a marital or family situation. Just like the game we played as children, the words change as they are passed from one person to the next. A simple request for prayer is sufficient.  The key here being the word “simple.”  

Elaborate prayer requests can be gossip in disguise… can you be trusted? The author of Proverbs tells his reader that a gossip betrays a confidence. (Proverbs 11:13, 20:19,) Betraying a friend’s confidence by labeling it a prayer request becomes gossip. Our public prayer requests need to be clear and simple. God will understand.
My prayer today is that I might not betray my friends or my God. Won't you join me?


Last week, I put all the small American flags and the red, white and blue pinwheels in our yard. We fly our flag each day. Today we are making plans to celebrate July 4th. Yesterday we sang patriotic songs in our worship service.  I often review the posts I have written for past holidays, and as I reflect on past years, I discover that old saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same."  The older I become the more I realize this is true. Several years ago I wrote the post I am sharing ...a few years ago we were praying for our granddaughter as she served our country in Kuwait...today we are praying for her husband as he serves his fifth deployment  some place in the Middle East.  Please join me as I pray for Scott and all those serving us away from their families.

This is a copy taken from my book Just Around the Corner.


A wooden Uncle Sam waves an American flag as he guards the corner of my neighbor’s lawn. Each corner I turn I see small symbols of America. Flags, bunting and windsocks flutter in the subtle breeze. The clang of a barbecue grill in a local back yard puts a feeding squirrel up the nearest tree.

Music floats from the sound system of a teenager’s vehicle as it stops at the four-way intersection. Childish laughter from the children down the street echoes above the edges of their newly installed pool and hovers on the surface of the neighborhood. Serene, soothing sounds of America as it prepares for another summer celebration.

July 4th is fast approaching. Here in this Edgar County, Illinois town (population 10,000) tradition is strong. Food, flags, fun and fireworks are the order of the day. First the parade, and then we flock with family and friends to the local parks for fellowship with young and old.

A great-grandmother rocks the newest baby in her arms as she applauds her grandson’s solo in the city band concert. Horseshoes clang against the iron stake. Mothers scold and fathers chat. Children chase in among the adults begging for one more cotton candy, one more goofy-golf game, one more ride in the paddle ,

  The day builds as the darkness approaches. Blankets and lawn chairs start spotting the grass like beacons for the children in the early twilight. A low murmur of expectation, crying babies, and muttering parents mingles with the high pitched whine of tired children. Red stars burst on the night sky and the fireworks begin. Moans of appreciation explode from the crowd, and another 4th of July is celebrated in my home town.

  Edgar County is a small spot in the American countryside, but we understand, perhaps more than some small towns, the price for freedom. Recent deaths of five of our local National Guard soldiers in Iraq gives a bittersweet gratefulness to our heritage. Beneath the surface of every Fourth of July celebration is our first-hand knowledge of the sacrifice and sadness that has made it possible. We see the veteran’s memorial on our town square and are aware of those who have given. No matter our faith, we surely must be thankful for that heritage we really don’t deserve.

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While scanning the internet today, I found these forgotten instructions. I have used these instructions from Noah before as an example of facing fear with courage and was reminded once again how true these simple instructions are. Certianly this is not original with me, and I cannot find the source, but still believe it is worth thinking about so, will thank the anonymous person who first made these comments.  I have gone back to them often.




1.   Don’t miss the boat

2.   Remember we are all in the same boat.

3.   Plan ahead, it wasn’t raining when Noah started to build

4.   Stay fit, you never know what God may call you to do when you are old.

5.   Don’t listen to critics. Just go ahead and do the job that needs to be done.

6.   Build your future on high ground.

7.   Speed isn’t everything.

8.   When you are stressing, float.

9.   Ark was built by amateur…Titanic by professionals.

10.     No matter what the storm, there is peace at the end.


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Missed Opportunity

We drive our same path home. She is gone. My opportunity to do something is gone. I have been so busy “playing Christian” that I have bypassed someone who needed love—God’s love. Jesus’ said “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine you did for me” (Matt: 25:40) I had not “done” anything for the “least” of God’s children. “Anyone who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.”(James 1:4) Today I had sinned again.

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